The exposition presents historical sources of the 18th – 16th centuries. Among them – facsimile of the Radzivills’ Chronicles where Polotsk is first mentioned (862); the old-printed chronicles of the 16th century in Latin and Polish: Matsey Strykovsky’s “The Chronicle of Poland, Lithuania, Samogetia and all Russia” (1582), Alexander Gwagnin “The Chronicle of European Sarmatia” (1581, 1611). They include data about the Livonian War (1558–1583) when Polotsk had repeatedly become the subject to conquest.
The outstanding cultural figures well-known in Europe, such as Francisk Skorina and Simeon Polotsky were born in Polotsk. The permanent main exposition of the Book Museum acquaints visitors with Francisk Skorina’s books printed in Prague while the offered exhibition presents the collections of Simeon Polotsky’s sermons “Obed dushevny” (1681) and “Vecherya dushevnaya” (1683).
The exhibition acquaints visitors with the Polotsk historical book collections: the library of the Polotsk Temple Sophia (11th – 16th centuries), the library of the Polotsk Jesuit College (16th –19th centuries), and also with the libraries of the Polotsk Theological Seminary (19th century) and the Polotsk Military School (19th –20th centuries). The exposition includes the books whose belonging to Polotsk collections is defined by their ex-librises, seals and hand-written entries. Old-printed books of the 18th century published by the printing house at the Polotsk Jesuit College in Polish and Latin are also on display. Among them there is the “Miesięcznik Połocki”, the first journal published in the territory of Belarus before the Russian Revolution.
The exhibition presents editions of the 19th – early 20th centuries dedicated to the history and culture of Polotsk. The author of most of them is Aleksey Sapunov, the Belarusian historian, archaeographer and researcher of local lore.